General Aviation Groups Seek Relief from Presidential TFRs

 - June 29, 2011, 8:10 AM

The presidents of six general aviation associations have asked the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help soften the financial impact of temporary flight restrictions (TFR) on general aviation businesses during the presidential campaign season.

AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Air Transportation Association and NBAA said in a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole that TFRs create a direct economic impact through loss of revenue for aviation businesses, including FBOs, corporate flight departments, on-demand air charter operators, maintenance facilities, flight schools and helicopter and heliport operators.

According to the letter, an FBO at Chicago Midway Airport loses an average of $60,000 in revenue daily due to a TFR when the President visits the Chicago area. Also, helicopter air-tour operators in Hawaii and Las Vegas experience losses of more than $150,000 during each presidential visit.

The associations said the TSA worked successfully with the GA groups last summer to facilitate flight operations around Martha’s Vineyard when President Obama vacationed there. “Given this precedent, we request that the Department of Homeland Security develop procedures, with industry consultation, that would allow aviation businesses and operators to continue operating near normal levels but address the security needs necessary to protect the President during travel,” they said.

They cited Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as an example, where the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP) allows qualified operators to conduct flights close to the White House and the Capitol.

“We offer this as one initial possible path to take in addressing our concerns and we look forward to working with you on other possible initiatives in this area,” the groups wrote. “It is our belief that security requirements can be met while improving the financial viability of general aviation businesses during these difficult economic times.”